The national BLS “The Employment Situation — June 2014” report showed another surge in employment, adding 288,000 new jobs to the economy, the fifth straight month to show 200,000+ job gains. Economists are hopeful that this upswing will continue as we enter the third quarter.
Both regional and state unemployment rates saw little change in the United States metropolitan areas, according to the BLS’ latest Metropolitan Employment and Unemployment report. In May, the national unemployment rate held at 6.3 percent after April’s drop of 0.4 percent, proving to be 1.2 percentage points lower than it had been a year earlier. In fact, forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have seen unemployment rate decreases over the past year.
Looking deeper into the May metro area numbers, Bismarck, North Dakota once again led the nation with the lowest unemployment rate — at 2.2 percent, a decline of 0.4 percentage points from April. In total, 21 states had jobless rates significantly lower than the US figure of 6.3, while 8 states and DC had higher rates, and 21 states had rates that were not measurably different than the national average.
In other positive news, employment increased in 295 of 372 metropolitan areas, decreased in 68 areas and was unchanged in 9 areas. Additionally, all of the 34 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year employment gains since May 2013. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment among these divisions occurred in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (+3.7 percent), followed by Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas (+3.6 percent), and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (+3.4 percent each).
Here are some key regional highlights from the BLS “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment — May 2014” report:
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By the end of May, the Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent (the same as the previous month). Philadelphia City, PA had the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.3 percentage points), however they actually recorded the highest unemployment rate in the region with 7.2 percent. State College, PA once again reported the lowest unemployment rate at 4.1 percent.
The Midwest region showed an unemployment rate of 6.0 percent in the month of May. Leading the charge in this region was North Dakota, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.6 percent. By city, Bismarck, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate with an impressive 2.2 (-0.3 percentage points from the previous month). Regarding employment, the largest over-the-year percentage increase in job growth also occurred in North Dakota (+4.6 percent).
By month’s end, Nevada once again realized the largest unemployment rate decrease in the region with an impressive 3.9 percent decrease from the previous year, though the state once again came in last in the region with 8 percent unemployment (-0.2 percentage points from the previous month). Yuma, AZ continues to have one of the largest unemployment rates in the country, with 26.5 percent (+2.5 percentage points from the previous month).
The New England region showed a 0.2 percent decrease in their unemployment rate, falling to 5.9. Vermont’s Burlington-South Burlington metro area recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the region, as it dropped 0.2 percent to 2.7 percent in May. This region saw the highest unemployment rate in Waterbury, CT with 9.2 percent.
The Southeast region showed a slight increase in their unemployment rate during the month of May – going from 5.9 to 6.0 percent. South Carolina (-2.6 percentage points) and Tennessee (-2.0 percentage points) had the largest unemployment rate declines from May 2013 and Florida had one of the largest over-the-month employment decreases (-17,900 new jobs). Greenville, NC and Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL tied with the lowest unemployment rate in the region with a showing of 4.4 percent respectively.
The Southwest region’s unemployment rate remained unchanged with 5.2 percent in the month of May. Leading the charge in this region was Oklahoma, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. Pine Bluff, AR had the highest rate of unemployment at 8.4 percent. This region saw great growth in Texas – adding 56,400 new jobs – the largest over-the-month increases in employment across the entire US.
The west continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.9 percent (a decline of -0.1 from the previous month). Within the region, Utah touts the lowest unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, with Logan, UT-ID coming in at 2.5 percent. Once again, California has experienced one of the largest over-the-year job increases by adding 340,200 since May 2013, and had an overall jobless rate of 7.6 (down -1.5 percent from May 2013). El Centro, CA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state coming in at 21.1 percent.